Bladder Cancer News- Early Detection Test Now Available
Dr. Matthew Breen from North Carolina State University has developed an early diagnostic urine test for TCC/UC. Dr. Breen’s CADET test works by detecting the specific mutation in a gene called the BRAF gene. A single mutation in the BRAF gene is present in 85% of dogs with confirmed cases of TCC/UC. This mutation is not present in the urine of healthy dogs or dogs that have noncancerous polyps or infection. This early test detects the cancer cells before they manifest symptoms that in turn allows for early detection, appropriate treatment, and better results. The STCA Health Trust Fund has been working closely with Dr. Breen in the early stages of his research with promising results.
The CADET screening test is now available through the American Kennel Club (AKC) website store for a reduced price of $299 (includes overnight shipping), for a one year subscription of three samples at 4-month interval and readings. For households with multiple dogs, you can screen all your dogs once with a multiple pack of urine collection cups that can be sent in all at the same time. Under the option CHOOSE SELECTION, scroll down to find the number of dogs you want to test. The one year subscription can only be used with one dog as it is assigned a specific code that will be used to trace the tests for that dog for that year. Along with the urine sample you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire asking about where the dog lives, its water source, use of any flea/tick preventatives, pesticide use inside the house, lawn care regimes, passive smoke in the house, and how many hours is the dog required to hold their urine during the day. For AKC registered dogs it will be important to have the registration number so that the information from your dog can be used to track its littermates. All data will be used within a larger study of all dogs as they are tested and logged in. The test can be found on the AKC website shop at http://shop.akc.org/products/cadet-cancer-detection-tests.
Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems for your pet. To prevent sunburn, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of the dog’s ears and nose, the skin around its mouth, and its back.
Bugs and Critters
You are already aware of flea and tick preventatives and the monthly heartworm medication given to the dog can ward off other parasitic worms. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate insect protection for the dog. However, there are many other critters from bees to spiders and snakes that have the potential to bite or sting a pet. Sometimes a bite or sting can necessitate a trip to the emergency vet. Benadryl might be enough to calm swelling, itching, or hives but it shouldn’t replace a call to the vet’s office to see if the dog should be brought in right away.
Pools, Rivers, and Lakes
Not all dogs can swim. Due to their body dimensions, Scotties have a hard time staying afloat. Floating devices or lifejackets can be used, but you must stay in the water with your pet, just as you would with a toddler. Rivers and lakes have special problems. A current could easily carry your dog downstream even if the currents are not readily visible. A lake sinkhole could cause the dog to panic. Avoid lakes and ponds with blue-green algae, signified by scummy water and a foul odor. Algae can produce a toxin that may cause severe sickness or seizures if your pet ingests the water, by either drinking from the lake or licking tainted fur. Pool chlorine can irritate a dog's skin and upset its stomach. Rinse the dog with fresh water after swimming in a pool and do not let it drink more than a small amount of pool water.
Barbecues and Picnics
Be aware of the hot grill as well as the hot food that might fall off the grill and cause a serious burn on the dog’s tongue or other part of the body. Another opportunity, perceived by the dog, is the variety of food that can be sampled. Just a few grapes, a bone fragment, or foods seasoned with garlic or onion that is toxic to dogs can cause serous effects. Even fatty meats can distress the dog’s digestive system. Alcohol can also reap havoc on a dog. A drunken dog is a very unwell dog. Keep a watchful eye on the dog when it are joins you at the food fest.
Thunder, Fireworks, and other Loud Noises
With summer storms and fireworks displays popping up all over, some dogs have every reason to burrow under the dining room table. It’s not known how common noise fear and phobia is in dogs. Males and females are equally likely to develop the problem. Fear of noises does not usually develop until a dog is at least one year of age. Most of the sounds that dogs fear are sudden, loud noises like thunder, firecrackers, and gunfire. If the dog is scared, don't bring it to fireworks displays and always keep the comfort mechanisms that work for the dog available in case you are away when a storm strikes. Some ideas for modifying the dog’s behavior include the following:
Create a safe, soothing place by noticing where the dog runs when the loud noise occurs. You can find a safe place for your dog like a room without windows, or one that is soundproofed. Allow the dog to have access if its scared. The dog may feel safe under your bed, so make sure the door to the bedroom isn’t closed. Make the area as cozy as possible. Have favorite toys, bed, and doggy treats close by. Sometimes just sitting near the dog give it needed comfort.
A noise machine may also help. There are some soothing sounds -so-called "bio-acoustically engineered music-or "music that is tailored to dogs" that may soothe dogs or can be used as white noise to drown out the background sounds of thunder.
Some dogs respond well to a Thunder shirt or similar wrap. Like a soothing baby wrap, the Thundershirt Storm is an "anxiety wrap" for nervous dogs. A small anti-static vest, it will apply lateral side pressure that is supposed to be comforting to dogs.
Distracting the dog can help keep its mind off the event. Rolling a ball to retrieve or playing fetch with its favorite toy may help to distract the dog from the noise.
If none of the ideas above seem to work well, then an animal behaviorist or the veterinarian trained in behavioral therapies may be the next step. Medication may also be a viable alternative for calming the dog.
Some common garden plants and flowers can be toxic for dogs. Daffodil and tulip bulbs, climbing morning glories and wisteria, azaleas, day lilies, and hydrangeas can harm the dog if they are ingested. Lawns that have been treated with pesticides and/or fertilizers can sicken a dog. For a complete list of poisonous flowers: (aspca.org Click on Pet Care and then Animal Poison Control). It’s always a good idea to discourage the dog from chewing on or ingesting any vegetation.
Summer Safety Tips for Your Dog- Keeping Your Dog in Optimum Health
Just as you prepare yourself for summer months with light clothing, sunscreen, hats, and bug repellant, your dog needs some summer safety precautions too. Here are a few warm weather events that may pose hazards for your dog. Make sure your dog’s summer days are safe ones.
One of the greatest risks for a dog having a heat stroke is leaving the dog in the car. Even though outdoor temperatures might be in the mid-70s, temperatures inside the car can soar to the 100s in a matter of minutes. A cracked window is not enough to cool a dog. Watch for excessive panting or difficulty breathing in your dog. This is a warning sign that the dog is struggling to cool off. Shade is a must if the dog is outside. Helpful items for a pet on hot days include fresh bowls of water, and even a kiddie pool for a wet-cool down on “ the dog days of summer.”
Symptoms of heat stroke in the dog include: Rapid panting, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick, sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting - sometimes with blood, diarrhea, shock, coma. Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking the dog to a veterinarian, lower the temperature by wetting the dog thoroughly with cool water, then increase air movement around him with a fan.
Also consider how hot the sidewalk, asphalt, or beach sand could be for the dog’s paws. If you are out for a walk test the path with your hand; that’s how it will feel for the dog. Consider early morning and evening times for walks. Find shaded areas or grassy areas for the afternoon outings.
What You Need to Know: Protect Your Dog from a New Canine Flu
A new strain of Asian flu virus has infected more than 1,000 dogs in the Midwest. Chicago has been particularly hard hit. The virus H3N2, has previously only been seen in Korea and parts of China. It is not known how the virus was introduced into the United States. One theory suggests that the virus was carried in by an infected dog from Asia that did not have active symptoms. At the present time there is no vaccine for this particular strain of flu.
How is it passed?
The virus is usually passed from dogs interacting in the same space such as in dog parks, dog daycare centers, kennels, classes, or at the groomers. It can also be passed on clothing or other items with which a sick dog has come into contact. The flu is passed through saliva or other secretions. Dogs can be contagious for a few days before showing any symptoms.
What are the Symptoms?
H3N2 symptoms include: coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and runny nose. These symptoms are similar to those of a person with the flu.
GENETIC ISSUES AND THE SCOTTISH TERRIER
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. However, careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic diseases and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens. Sometimes genetics go awry, and a puppy may develop one of these genetic issues despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. Below are some brief descriptions of a few of the more common genetic issues that are particular to the Scottish terrier.
Scottie cramp is a disorder that affects the dog’s ability to coordinate its leg movements. It is usually only evident when the dog is stressed or overly excited. The “cramp” exhibits as an inability to run, or an unusual lock-legged gait with an arched lumbar area. The symptoms disappear almost immediately when the stimulus-exercising, hunting, fighting - that caused the stress abates in the dog. Scottie cramp is inherited and is present at birth, but some dogs only exhibit symptoms as puppies. The condition does not worsen, and may in fact never appear in the dog as it matures. The condition does not hurt the dog nor give it pain. Scottie cramp does not affect the life quality of a companion animal.
This page made possible by Kathy Edmunds.
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- What is Von Willebrand’s Disease?
VWD is a bleeding disorder that is not quite as severe as hemophilia, but it presents similarly. A simple DNA test is available to detect this disease. Most reputable breeders test for VWD. Symptoms of the disorder include: excessive bleeding when nails are cut or during surgery, bleeding gums or bleeding from the nose when teething, hematomas on the surface of the body, bloody ears, or blood in the stool or
Recurrent seizures without any underlying disease in the brain are defined as classic idiopathic (unknown origin) epilepsy. The disease will not present until the dog is between three and five years old. Characteristics of the seizure episode include: excessive salivation, dilated pupils, stiffening limbs, occasional paddling of the legs and arching of the back. The event usually lasts a minute or two, but some dogs may have longer and more frequent seizures. If the veterinarian determines treatment is
needed, phenobarbital is usually indicated.
- What is Cushing’s Syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome is caused by an overabundance of cortisol a hormone. Dogs who have Cushing’s syndrome typically: drink huge amounts of water, lose coat, develop a potbelly and weakening muscles, urinate frequently, and exhibit darkening skin. It is typically a disease of older dogs. Veterinarians can test for signs of Cushing’s and they can treat the dog with oral drugs. It is recommended that any dog suspected of having Cushing’s disease should have a complete blood count, chemistry profile, and urinalysis performed as a routine part of the evaluation.
- What is Craniomandibular Osteopathy?
CMO appears in a dog between 4 and 7 months of age. It is an inherited disorder that presents as abnormal growth of the bone of the lower jaw. The puppy may also have other symptoms such as lethargy and fever, along with pain upon examination of the mouth. An x-ray confirms diagnosis of this disorder. CMO is treated with aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. As the dog matures, CMO is often undetectable since the abnormal bone growth ceases.
Wondering if your dog needs a flu shot??
A vaccine is conditionally approved for H3N2 canine flu, seen in 25 states. But veterinarians are not recommending the shot for every dog.
The website page provides contain general information about canine medical conditions, treatments and issues. The information contained on this site along with links provided should not be considered advice nor is it intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The purpose of this information is educational and informational only. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional veterinarian advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Scottish Terrier Club of Chicago, Inc. does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, veterinarians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on these websites. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.
The Dog Press
Dogs for Kids Resource Guide
Dr. Karen Becker
Additional Resource Links
Each year in the United States over 50,000 dogs are diagnosed with Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) also known as Urothelial Carcinoma (UC). TCC being the most common type of bladder cancer. It is a malignant tumor that can affect the bladder, urethra, and kidneys of male and female dogs and also the prostate of males. TCC is very invasive and aggressive cancer that metastasizes quickly into the muscle tissue, and is hard to diagnose. Symptoms are similar to those of a urinary tract infection (UTI). They are: blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and frequent urination. Because these symptoms are similar to a UTI, the dog is repeatedly treated for an UTI, losing precious time as the cancer continues to grow.
The exact cause of TCC in an individual dog is currently not known. Generally canine TCC results from a combination of several factors including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. The National Canine Cancer Foundation website writes that “exposure to topical insecticides and herbicides, obesity, cyclophosphamide administration and particular types of breed are believed to be the probable risk factors”.
While bladder cancer comprises only 1% - 2% of all canine cancers the Scottish Terrier is unfortunately the leading breed in incidence of bladder cancer. Other high risk breeds are the Shetland Sheepdog, Beagle, Jack Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Wire-Haired Fox Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier. One out of seventeen Scotties over the age of nine is currently predicated to develop TCC.
Currently there are three types of diagnosis tests for this cancer: cytology, imaging, and a biopsy. Many veterinarians are concerned about the biopsy since the possibility exists for loosening cancer cells that could potentially “seed” new tumors in the bladder under examination.
Dr. Deborah Knapp at the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital has established a Canine Bladder Cancer Clinic - https://vet.purdue.edu/pcop/clinical-trials.php. With ongoing clinical trials, diagnostic capabilities, and a variety of treatments for dogs with TCC, the researchers are learning new information that not only helps the dogs with the disease but also may someday help humans with bladder cancer. At the present time treatment options include: surgery, radiation, and drug therapy. The majority of dogs with TCC are treated with drug therapy. The STCA Health Trust Fund has been supporting the work of Dr. Knapp for several years through grants and gathering data from healthy and impacted dogs.
Three different drug protocols are used most often in the standard care for dogs with TCC. The first treatment protocol is to give a drug called piroxicam. It is a type of drug known as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or "NSAID". The second treatment protocol is to combine piroxicam with an intravenous chemotherapy drug called mitoxantrone. A third treatment is to use a drug called vinblastine. Vinblastine is a chemotherapy drug that is given intravenously at 2 week intervals in dogs with TCC. Treatment decisions are made after careful examination and staging of the cancer.
Although great progress has been made in the treatment and management of TCC there is still much to learn. Researchers continue to work on various therapies and diagnostic tools in order to defeat this horrid disease.
Bladder Cancer News
Purdue University Veterinary Hospital is planning to release a new treatment study for TCC within six months. This study will define another treatment option for dogs with TCC, called "metronomic" chemotherapy. The term metronomic chemotherapy is used to describe the frequent (typically daily), low dose, oral administration of chemotherapy. This type of chemotherapy schedule was developed with the goal to block the formation of new blood vessels in the cancer, that is to have an "anti-angiogenic" effect. If the cancer cannot gain access to new blood vessels, then it cannot grow (ideally for many months or more). The cancer is not expected to shrink, but to stabilize in growth. This option will offer extended life for the dog, and is a well-tolerated treatment. For more information on the Oncology Clinical Trials along with updates can be found at https://vet.purdue.edu/pcop/urinary-bladder-cancer-research.php.
Dr. Nancy Kay
Steve Dale's Pet World
Keeping Your Dog in Optimum Health
All dog owners strive to maintain happy healthy dogs. Good health for the dog includes nourishing its mind, body, and spirit. Below are tips for keeping your dog on the path to wellness.
Dogs like humans are omnivores who require moderately well balanced meals that include meat, grain, and vegetables. Factors to consider when feeding the dog are: age, activity level, and ideal weight. With consultation from your veterinarian, the amount and type of food best suited for the dog can be determined. Creating a recipe for home cooked dog food may leave the food lacking in essential nutrients, so once again be sure to consult your trusted veterinarian.
Dogs love treats and snacks but they should only make up 10% of the dog’s daily calories. Your vet can make recommendations for treats based on the dog’s weight and activity level. Too many treats can add up to too many calories. Vegetables make excellent treats for the dog. Baby carrots, green beans, and broccoli have virtually no calories, sugars and fats, and are great treats for your dog. Fruits such as banana slices, berries, watermelon, and apple slices (with no seeds) are also fun treats. Be sure to avoid avocados, cherries, grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate and anything that is caffeinated. These items can be toxic to dogs. A lesser known toxic ingredient is Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in sugar-free gum and other products.
All living beings require water for healthy living, so be sure to provide clean water at all times and change it frequently to insure freshness. Generally, a dog requires at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day. It’s a good idea to bring extra water when you are traveling or exercising your dog. Be sure to wash out the dog’s water bowl every day to prevent bacterial growth.
Keeping your dog happy and healthy with exercises that are both physical and mental is fun for you and your dog. You can determine the correct amount of exercise your dog needs over time, but at least an hour or two a day is recommended by many veterinarians. This of course depends on the breed, age, and size of the dog. Behavior problems such as chewing, excessive barking, and hyperactivity can crop up if the dog can’t release its energy through exercise. Exercise also helps keep the dog’s weight in check. A brisk walk with your dog also keeps you healthy. Please note that veterinarians recommend keeping your dog off lawns that have been sprayed with chemicals and fertilizers. Brain exercises like fetching a ball, retrieving Frisbees, or simply chasing a toy on a stick enriches the dog’s life. If you plan to jog with your dog, check in with your veterinarian. Sustained running or jogging is not recommended for young dogs whose bones haven’t finished growing. It can also be hard on a dog’s joints and bones. Dogs are eager to learn and training enhances the bond between you and your dog. Generally, when training, reward behaviors you like, and do not reward behaviors you don’t like. Organized activities like, Rally-O, Barn Hunt, Agility, and Canine Good Citizen are available in most communities.
Regular grooming with a brush and comb will keep the dog’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, loose hair, and spreading natural oils throughout the coat. Grooming also allows the opportunity to check for fleas and ticks. Routine maintenance should include an ear check, eye check, and nail trimming. Ears can be cleaned out with a cotton ball dampened with mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide, or a commercial cleaner formulated for this purpose.
Get a toothbrush made especially for dogs since plaque and tartar can cause serious health issues. There is also toothpaste made especially for canines. Regular brushing of the dog’s teeth can go a long way to keeping the mouth healthy. Check your dog for bad breath which is often a sign there is a mouth problem.
An important aspect of your dog’s wellness routine is a yearly wellness check. Find a veterinarian that you like and can trust. Yearly visits can help the vet get to know the dog and then recognize signs of illness or medical problems more quickly. Currently, there is some controversy regarding the duration of protection and the timing of administration of vaccines to dogs. Vaccination has both benefits and risks. The vaccines should be evaluated by the veterinarian for each individual dog based on lifestyle and health of the dog. The veterinarian can determine the vaccine regimen that will provide the best and safest protection for the dog.
The veterinarian can also recommend products, based on the area in which you live, for flea and tick protection. Many over the counter products are ineffective, or contain pyrethroids that can be harmful to the dog’s health.
The veterinarian can recommend heartworm protection for the dog. Heartworm is found in all fifty states, and dogs become infected by one bite of an infected mosquito. There are monthly pills, topical treatments, and also a six- month injectable product available from the veterinarian. The cost of treatment and damage to the dog from this mosquito borne disease is much more than the cost to prevent heartworm.
The dog relies on you to keep it in good health. A nutritious diet, exercise, grooming and wellness checks will help to keep your dog in top form.
The information contained in this article is educational and informational only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional veterinarian advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Winter Weather and your Dog
Winter! Just like us, many dogs love to be out in the fresh snow while others prefer to be snuggled in a cozy blanket on the couch. A pet’s cold tolerance depends on its health, coat, fat stores, and activity level. In all cases your dog needs to be protected from the elements. Here are some tips and thoughts for winter care.
Walking: Your dog’s walk in very cold weather probably needs to be shortened to protect you and your dog from weather-associated health risks. Dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia therefore no dog should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. Thick-coated dogs tend to be a bit more cold tolerant than those with short hair, but short-legged pets, like Scotties may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come in contact with snow-covered ground. Dogs with chronic health issues such as, diabetes, Cushing’s, heart or kidney disease, to name but a few, may have a harder time regulating their body temperature.
Hypothermia occurs when a dog’s body temperature falls below normal. If the temperature continues to fall muscles stiffen, heart rate and breathing slow, and the dog could die. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to get your dog warm. Wrap the dog in blankets, and take it to the veterinarian who can monitor the heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV if necessary.
Frostbite can also occur particularly on the dog’s ears, tail, and paws. The dog’s ears, paws, or tail can get so cold that ice crystals form damaging the tissue. The thing to remember about frostbite is that it’s not immediately obvious. The tissue doesn’t show signs of damage for several days. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, bring it into a warm environment right away. You can soak the extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes to melt the ice crystals and restore circulation. It’s very important that you don’t rub the frostbitten tissue, however–the ice crystals can do a lot of damage to the tissue. When your dog warms up, wrap the dog in blankets and take it to the veterinarian. The veterinarian can assess the damage and treat your dog for pain or infection if necessary.
Shivering is an obvious sign that your dog is cold. Some dogs exhibit anxiety when they are too cold; they will act anxious or fearful. They may turn and head for home or begin whining or barking. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling.
While walking be sure to stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support the dog’s weight, and if the dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly.
If you want to put a coat or sweater on your dog and the dog will wear it, go for it. It may help a little, but remember that dogs lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract. The best way to protect your dog from winter weather damage is to watch them closely and make sure they are comfortable.
If you are not comfortable outside in the cold, then probably your dog isn’t either.
Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. The dogs are walking through snow, slush, salt and chemicals, and their feet may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could not only be injurious to the paws but also toxic to the dog. When you get back inside, wipe down/wash your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned from licking them off its feet or fur. Dog booties and or various salves are available at pet stores. You may be able to reduce the chance of ice ball accumulation by clipping the hair between the dog’s toes.
The most important thing to do is to clean off the dog’s feet each time it comes into the house.
Cars: A car can rapidly cool down in cold weather becoming like a refrigerator. It can rapidly chill a dog. Dogs that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. If the car is left running with an unattended pet, especially in a garage, then carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat.
Dogs should never be left in cars unattended no matter what the season.
Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. The antifreeze has a sweet taste and dogs will readily lick it. It is extremely toxic.
Keep the dog out of the garage or driveway where they may encounter antifreeze.
Heat Sources: During the winter, dogs often seek warm spots for resting. Occasionally they wind up snuggling too close to heat sources and they burn their tail or paws.
Be watchful of space heaters, unprotected baseboard heaters, and make sure that the fireplace is pet-proofed to avoid burns.
General well being: Dogs can dehydrate just a quickly in the winter as they do in summer. Eating snow is not a good substitute for fresh water. Make sure the dog is hydrated with plenty of fresh water.
Dogs do not really need extra calories in the winter. Cold temperatures tend to bring on lazy behaviors, so make sure to monitor your dog’s activity level and adjust the calories accordingly.
The dog needs a clean well-groomed coat to keep the dog properly insulated. Be sure to thoroughly dry the dog after bathing before allowing it to venture outside in the winter. Just a little extra attention will keep your dog at its best throughout the cold winter.
ATYPCIAL CUSHING‘S RESEARCH STUDY CONCLUDED
Researchers at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine have completed their 9-year study and analysis. Kurt Zimmerman has crossed the finished line in this 9-year epic study of atypical Cushing’s in our breed! They are in the process of having the results submitted and published in an academic paper. The researchers don’t have any immediate plans to pursue this line of inquiry any further but hope to revisit it someday.
We have fortunate enough to receive the following summary of the results from Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator while the submission & publication process is underway.
Atypical Cushing’s in Scotties
Cushing’s disease is a chronic debilitating disorder in dogs. Scotties have an unusually high incidence of Cushing’s. It can contribute to the development of diabetes, obesity, immune system problems, inappropriate urination, and other negative health outcomes. In normal dogs, the pituitary gland and adrenal glands produce hormones necessary for the function of many systems in the body. If something goes wrong in these glands and certain hormones are overproduced, then Cushing’s can develop. These abnormalities are often detected by observing clinical signs and when routine blood work shows elevations in a liver protein called ALP.
Preliminary data indicate that in Scottish Terriers, the cause of atypical Cushing’s appears to be due to excessive amounts of noncortisol steroids, which is an atypical form of the disease. These findings prompted the group at the vet school here to speculate that there might be a unique underlying cause for atypical Cushing’s in this breed. The study you participated in was designed to test those theories.
Our preliminary research, which has been ongoing for several years, had already figured out a few things:
•In the most common form of Cushing’s, excessive amounts of a single hormone from the pituitary gland signals the adrenal gland to overproduce cortisol. However, in Scotties excessive amounts of sex hormones, not cortisol, are observed. •This increased production of adrenal sex hormones is not due to excessive amounts of a variety of pituitary signaling hormones. •These elevated concentrations of sex hormones are the cause for the increased ALP values commonly seen in these dogs. •There is no indication of adrenal cancer as a cause for this increased production of sex hormones. •Adrenal and pituitary feedback systems are functional normally. •The magnitude of ALP elevations increases over time, but pituitary and adrenal regulation do not change.
The Virginia-Maryland college team identified 3 candidate genes in a very small pool of patients which are uniquely expressed in Scotties with atypical disease compared to normal Scotties and other breeds with Cushing’s disease, and undertook the study you participated in to understand how these genes might influence the development of atypical Cushing’s.
The Newest Study
The latest study you participated in found that there was indeed a genomic variation in Scottish terriers that was associated with increased serum ALP activity. The variation was located on the same chromosome as a gene responsible for inactivation of sex steroids. Genes can be active (expressed) or inactive (not expressed). If genes are overexpressed, their effect can increase. If they are under expressed, their effect is reduced. In Scotties, the sex steroid inactivation gene was under expressed in comparison to other breeds with Cushing’s disease (pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism). We suggest the gene variation seen in Scotties may be linked with “turning off” this sex steroid inactivation gene, leading to increased concentrations of sex steroids. We believe the higher concentrations of these sex steroids may explain commonly observed liver and ALP changes seen in Scottish terriers.
Clinical Trials Coordinator
Veterinary Clinical Research Office
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
205 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 540-231-1363
Working Hours: M, W, F (8:30am-5pm)
How is the flu treated?
Your veterinarian will know what is best for the dog, but in general dogs with this diagnosis should maintain fluid and food intake, rest, and stay isolated from other dogs. The infectious state could be 10-14 days. If a secondary bacterial infection sets in, the vet will probably prescribe antibiotics. Some dogs with the flu are more at risk for developing pneumonia.
What should you do?
Currently in areas where the flu has been documented it is wise to take precautions such as not bringing your dog into social situations where dogs are coming together. If dogs are not in contact with one another the virus can’t spread. Certainly keep your dog away from any dogs that show symptoms. Call the vet if you suspect your dog has the flu, there may be special arrangements for treatment so that other dogs are not infected. Reducing social activities for the dog will hopefully stop the virus transmission in the community.
Have Dog, Will Travel
Traveling with pets has become more and more popular these days. However, it’s not as simple as packing a suitcase and jumping into a car or plane. Traveling with your dog requires planning, patience, and more planning. Here are some tips to consider when you are planning a trip by car or by air.
In the Car
In order to have successful car travel with your pet, think about the dog when you plan what vehicle to take, where to stay, how often to stop, and how long to drive each day.
Humans want to be safe and comfortable in the car; this is true for the dog too. Airbags are designed for humans but can be devastating to animals. Likewise, leaving your dog loose in the bed of a pickup truck isn’t a good idea for either its safety or comfort. Having loose animals inside the car is not a good idea either. Not only can they distract you and get into things that they shouldn't, but they can also be injured or killed if you stop suddenly or get into an accident. Unrestrained dogs can become missiles that injure you or other passengers. The two best ways to restrain your dog are harnesses and crates. Many harnesses easily attach to a car’s child car seat anchors. Tying your dog's leash to a seat belt or something else in the car can be dangerous to both you and the dog in case of an accident. A dog hanging its head out the window can probably get the rest of its body out if it sees something it wants. Also, bugs, rocks, and other road debris can harm your dog’s vision.
In order to acclimate your dog to riding in the car, it’s a good idea to take some short car trips with the dog that do not end up at the groomer or the vet. Use the harness or crate that you will use for your longer trip. Put some favorite toys and a familiar blanket in the crate, and of course reward your dog for using the crate.
You also might want to experiment with feeding your dog. Some dogs do better having not eaten for several hours before they go in the car, while others need to have a small meal immediately before the ride. Make sure to take plenty of their food. You’ll also want to take plenty of water along, either in jugs from the tap at home or bottled water. Animals can be more sensitive than humans to what’s in the water. Buying bottled water for your pet might sound silly, but it’s a whole lot better than traveling with a dog that has intestinal issues. Keep your pet’s food, water, and treats consistent, and feed them at the same times you would feed them at home.
Make sure the dog has a good collar with current identification and that the dog is microchipped. It is also a good idea to get a record of any vaccinations your pet has received, and any medications it requires. Paper copies of your pet’s prescriptions are handy if you have to refill any medicines.
Stopping every couple of hours for the dog is probably a good idea. Allow the dog to relieve itself and stretch its legs. Keep an eye on the dog at all times. Just as visiting new places is exciting for you, it’s also exciting for your pet. Keep your dog on a leash at all times; if they see something new and fascinating, the perfect "come" you have at home may not bring the dog back.
Not all hotels or campgrounds will accommodate your dog. Some that do also charge exorbitant fees for the dog. Some places have weight limits or won’t host some types of animals or breeds of dogs. Call the property directly to verify their pet policy before you go. Some hotel chains have exceptional pet travel policies. Kimpton Hotels welcomes pets to all of its properties with no additional fee. The La Quinta chain of more than 800 properties only has a few locations that charge a pet fee and allows up to two domestic pets per room. It’s important to be a responsible pet owner. Have their favorite toys, treats, or toys to keep your dog from barking in the hotel room, and be sure to clean up after your pet both in the room and on the hotel grounds. There are several websites that offer resources for travelers with dogs: PetsWelcome.com, BringFido.com, and GoPetFriendly.com have extensive listings of pet-friendly properties across the country.
And of course, don’t leave your dog in a parked car! It takes only a few minutes for a car’s interior temperature to climb to a fatal level. Plus, more places are making it illegal to leave a pet in a hot car. If you leave your pet inside, you might come back to a car with a broken window, no pet, and a police officer standing by.
In the Plane
Pet safety has become a pressing issue with air travel. Incidents of animals being lost, injured, or dying have recently risen because of flying conditions in cargo - or recently, a dog died after it was placed in an overhead bin! Currently, United Airlines, the largest carrier of animals, has stopped taking reservations for pet shipping as cargo until a review of its operations can be conducted (May 1). The basic truth is that at the present time airlines are not designed to accommodate animals very well, both in cargo or in the cabin, nor do some dogs tolerate the travel very well. (Many dogs’ deaths are attributed to heart attacks). There is little federal oversight of live-animal air travel. At the present time the Agriculture Department handles safety, including rules of cargo-space conditions, animal holding areas, and other logistics of transporting animals. Even though the majority of pets are not harmed during a flight, travel for pets is quite stressful. Each airline has a specified number of dogs (not including service-dogs) that are allowed in the cabin. Most dogs need to be under 20 pounds, over 10 weeks old, and they must fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you. Fees are usually $125 each way. The website Petfriendlytravel.com has an extensive round up of global airlines and their policies on pets.
If you are planning to fly with your dog either under the seat or as cargo here are some suggestions to consider.
First, check with each airline as to the requirements of the crate they will allow in cargo. If you are planning to have your dog in the cabin, also check on the size of the space under the seat in front of you. Many under-seat spaces vary by airline and some carriers won’t fit. Weeks in advance of the trip you should acclimate your dog to the carrier or crate it will travel in for the flight. Some experts recommend taking the dog in the crate in the car through a car wash to accustom it to unfamiliar environments. Attaching a travel water bowl to the crate with ice in it will help the dog stay hydrated. Also, the dog should be desensitized to noise and crowds.
Consider food and water intake on flight day. The dog needs to be hydrated, but the last potty-break is going to be before security if you are flying the dog in the cabin or right before check-in if the dog is going in cargo. Some airports have dog relief areas, but many do not. Make sure your dog can relieve itself on cement if there is no grassy area available at the airport.
As with any dog travel, make sure the dog is microchipped and it has a collar with identification tags. It’s a good idea to travel with a photo of your dog in case it or its paperwork gets lost. Travel with a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. Cargo travel requires this. Some airlines require vaccination certificates too. Many veterinarians do not recommend sedating the dog since this can impair breathing. They do however, recommend trimming the animals’ nails, so they don’t try to claw through the crate.
Spring and fall are preferred travel times for dogs in cargo since this will avoid summer hear or winter freezes. If possible, book direct flights to avoid transfer risks when planes need to be changed. Advanced reservations for your dog are a must. Room for a limited number of non-service animals is made on a first-come-first- served basis at most airlines.
Whatever choice you make for your dog, here are some items to consider when your dog is going traveling with you.
•Health certificate and medical records •Contact information for your regular veterinarian and an emergency contact at your destination •Comb, brush, and flea control products •Any special medication your dog might need •Spare collar with id tag •Pet wipes or grooming products •Paper towels and stain remover •Enough dog food and treats for the entire trip •Plenty of bottled water (a sudden change can upset your dog's stomach) •Food and water dishes •Leash and poop bags •Your dog's favorite toy and blanket